A review of the Alfawise U30 3D Printer
Desktop 3D printers were rolled out to fill in a gap in the realm of 3D printing by giving amateurs robust printers fit for quality home printing. A trend that has been largely attributed to the launch of Anet E10 has caught steam with the launch of many similar ‘inspired’ 3D printers.
The latest in the lineup is the Alfawise U30 – a state-of-the-art portable 3D printer that delivers well on the goal of printing smaller objects with precision and accuracy.
The Alfawise U30 desktop 3D printer is largely an extension of Alfawise’s previous desktop printing model, the U20, that created quite a buzz in the 3D printing community.
Bearing some stark similarities with its predecessor, the U30 is just ideal for creating quality objects that can come handy in users’ day-to-day household lives.
The Alfawise U30 is marked with fewer complexities, more user-friendly options, making it ideal for amateurs and professionals alike. Some of the key highlights of this desktop 3D printer by Alfawise include an incredible design, hands-on training ability, high cost-performance ratio, and easy assembly.
The printer also comes with a fairly large build volume for its segments. The inclusion of features such as auto-resume functions in case of filament running out and power outages and touchscreen controlled processes make printing with the Alfawise U30 an enjoyable and successful experience.
Alfawise U30 Ratings
Design – 4 stars
Checks all the right boxes in terms of design but the semi-assembled structure can be daunting for beginners
Build – 4.5 stars
The aluminum alloy frame body lends great stability to the structure, which translates into fine print results
Performance – 4.5 stars
Premium features such as filament run-out detector, resume print and touchscreen display all contribute to the efficacy of printing. However, the small print volume limits the scope of what you can build with it.
Overall – 4.5 stars
A near-perfect desktop 3D printer in an affordable price range
- Classic metal black and red body
- 2.8-inch touchscreen for easy operation
- Resume print feature for power outages
- Filament run-out detection feature
- Built-in power supply switching feature
- Easy to use and clean hotbed
- Not suitable for large prints
- Unlike other desktop printers, it comes semi-assembled and not pre-assembled
An Overview of the Alfawise U30
The Alfawise U30 has arrived on the market following the trail of the famous U20 that was built on lines of the Creality CR-10S with a 300x300x400 mm build volume.
This newest desktop 3D printer from Alfawise is by no measure a revolutionized product but does come with some interesting improvements and a reduced print volume that set it apart from the existing range of Alfawise 3D printers.
The U30 is a single extruder printer with a 1.75 mm diameter filament and a 0.4 mm nozzle that can print out layers with a minimum thickness of 100 microns. The resume print feature remains a key USP of the Alfawise U30.
This function works in a dual capacity of pausing a print job in case of power outage or filament running out and then resuming right from where it left off once the problem has been corrected.
The U30 is also a versatile machine when it comes to filament compatibility, and can work with PLA, ABS, TPUU, PP, PVA and even wood filament for a maximum extrusion temp of 250 degrees C.
Alfawise has placed the power under the tray, integrated this setup with the aluminum chassis and added a support coil on top that is compatible with large and small filament coils.
The Alfawise U30 ships with an 8 GB microSD card that contains an assembly manual as well as a G-code file for test printing. The SD card can be operated using the 2.8-inch touchscreen to print autonomously with the U30.
The USB port is another greater addition that enhances the user-friendliness of this machine by facilitating connections to a computer for slicing designs with help of Simplify3D, Cura or any other software.
While U30 is largely being looked at as an evolution of the U20 given its myriad advanced features, some also perceive it as something of a reduced model, since the print volume here has been reduced to 220x220x250 mm.
Considering this is a desktop 3D printer, the very scope of which is to support home printing, this has been a smart move on part of Alfawise to roll out a 3D printer that has been aggressively priced.
Unboxing the U30
As is the case with most 3D printers, whether DIY kits or desktop versions, the Alfawise U30 too arrives tucked between huge piles of foam. The delivery can take anywhere up to four weeks, depending on your location.
The most noticeable thing about the U30, as you begin to unravel the layers, are the chips on the aluminum profiles – perhaps left behind from the mechanical processing – that do raise your suspicions about potential printing problems with this machine.
Other than that, the structure is uncomplicated and pretty fast and simple to put together. The unboxing also throws up another noticeable design change – side T-plates are tied to the lower aluminum profile using a direct thread instead of the usual bolt and nuts.
This certainly feels like a design improvement that impacts the printer’s efficiency significantly.
Even though the Alfawise U30 isn’t a fully pre-assembled desktop 3D printer, it does come semi-assembled and is fairly fast and easy to install.
The package contains all the component profiles, screws, and accessories necessary to put together the U30, so you won’t have to go scrambling about for equipment for building it up.
The microSD card included in the package also comes pre-loaded with an instruction manual in English that contains detailed, well-written instructions to help you sail through the installation process without a glitch.
Even for a complete novice, putting together the Alfawise U30 should not take over an hour. The Alfawise U30 has been built for beginners and even first-time users will be able to install this device with ease and work with it to get a great 3D experience that will have them hooked to the fascinating world of 3D printing.
The Alfawise U30 sports a clean, simple and steady design meant to accord an enhanced printing experience. The desktop 3D printer has a full aluminum alloy frame body with a printing capacity of 220x220x250 mm.
The U30 has been built for small designs but does an exquisite job of printing 3D models with great details and finesse. The stable aluminum alloy structure certainly contributes to the precision of print performance of this machine.
The 2.8-inch colored touchscreen display also adds to the ease-of-use of this 3D printer, as all the details of a print job can be easily monitored with help of the information displayed on the screen.
As a result, users are always up-to-speed with important details such as printing temperature, speed, axis movements and so on.
The XY-axis positioning accuracy of 0.0125mm and Z-axis positioning accuracy of 0.0025mm also contribute to the precision printing that the U30 is well-known for within the 3D printing community.
Contributing to this aspect is the nozzle diameter of 0.4 mm.
Another factor contributing to the Alfawise U30’s standing as a high-quality desktop printer is a consistent printing speed of 120 mm per second.
Even though that may not seem a lot in comparison to some of the full-blown DIY 3D printer kits, it is impressive considering the detail Alfawise U30 brings to its prints.
The filament run-out detector, of course, has been pegged as one of the highlights of this machine.
This feature is a handy addition that gives users the freedom to step away from the printer in the midst of a print job, as the U30 is wired to stop printing when in case the filament runs out and resume the process from exactly where it was left off as soon as the new filament is installed.
Apart from eliminating the need for constant monitoring, this feature also helps in considerably reducing the Alfawise U30’s failure rate.
The same goes for power outages. The resume print feature absolutely cuts out the risk of an entire print job being hampered due to an unexpected, sudden power failure or outage.
The Alfawise U30 also comes with a 200 W heat bed that can raise the temperature in the range of 40 to 60 degrees in under 5 minutes and can scale up to a maximum temperature in the range of a 100 degrees Celsius.
The heated bed temperatures can be smoothly controlled with help of the touchscreen. Any alteration in temperature also does not hamper the printing process as the Alfawise U30 does not wrap plastic materials, which allows it to maintain consistent quality of prints.
As mentioned before, the Alfawise U30 ships with an 8 GB microSD card, and contains a memory card slot to accommodate this microSD card as well as USB connection for linking it directly to a computer for slicing designs with help of software of users’ choice.
The microSD card can be controlled through display touchscreen to access different 3D software installed on it.
The Alfawise is a pretty perfect machine that checks all the right boxes for a desktop 3D computer. However, some may argue that its print volume of 220x220x250 mm is somewhat limiting and rules out the scope of printing large designs.
However, that’s exactly the scope in which desktop 3D printers fit. For anyone mindful of the clear difference between a full-blown 3D printer kit and a desktop version, the Alfawise U30 is ideal for working on smaller models and designs.
It is not fit for large industrial printing but if you are an amateur looking to work around with smaller designs to 3D print items of day-to-day use, look no further than Alfawise U30 to deliver impressive results, irrespective of your own grasp on the ways of 3D printing.
The one thing that Alfawise could have done differently with the U30 is to make it a pre-assembled device like many others in its range. The easy assembly process of the U30 notwithstanding, a semi-assembled device can be a tad daunting for beginners – to whom this product caters.
The impressive design and attention to detail in Alfwise U30 design translate well into detailed, high-quality 3D printed models. Right from the first test run, it becomes amply clear that the U30 is build to deliver impressive results.
The extruder is good and the filament slips on no occasion. All you get is a slight sense of it being clamped between the counter-pressure roller and the conveyor pinion.
The movement of the filament on to the Hotend can be made smoother by simply passing a slightly longer screw between the filament sensor and a nut.
The Alfawise U30 is equipped with an MK8 Hotend, which is attached to the printer’s frame with at the X-axis carrier with help of two screws. A 40 mm axial fan strapped to the side of the Hotend protection is used to provide component cooling.
Despite this unusual placement, there are just no hiccups with the cooling process. There is nothing quite spectacular about the 220x220x250 mm print bed of the U30 but it does the intended job quite well.
Given the success of the U20, the Alfawise U30 certainly had some large shoes to fill. Yet, it has created a name for itself in a short span of time since its release solely on basis of its stellar features and better printing experience.
Despite the limitations of its small dimensions and print size, the U30 has stood out among its competition and features like filament run-out detector, resume print feature and touchscreen display are largely to credit for it.
The remarkable printing accuracy and steady aluminum-framed design of the device certainly work to its advantage too.
Additions like an 8 GB microSD card and USB port are those fine details that give the U30 a clear edge over other desktop 3D printers in its price range.
The only criticism that has been thrown at this Alfawise offering is the lack of a pre-assembled structure.
While it can seem daunting to beginners, putting together a machine certainly helps one learn one’s way around it better, and thus, handle it more confidently when working with print jobs. It is certainly a front-runner for anyone searching for a household printing solution.
The Alfawise U30 is available on Amazon.